Why are my share counts incorrect?

This is a great question! I'll begin by asking you a couple questions of my own:
  1. Are your Flare bars showing zero counts? If so, check out this article, it'll be helpful: Why are my sharing counts showing zero shares?
  2. If your Flare bars are merely showing lower counts than you expected, what are you comparing this against?
The second question above goes to the heart of a fuzzy issue, around who is really the authority on how many times a particular page has been shared. 

How Flare Counts Shares

It's quite simple, really - it asks the social networks themselves!

Each time one of your visitors loads your page, Flare requests the sharing count for that URL from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. to see how many shares of that page they've tracked. We figure if anyone should know, it's them, right? Unfortunately, several of the social networks track URLs separately if they have any parameters appended to the end of them, which can sometimes lead to different numbers from what one would expect. 

What do you mean by appended URL parameters?

Sometimes the URL or address of a page will have additional information tacked on at the end. You can usually spot them in the address bar, starting with a "?", for example, to a user, these two URLs lead to exactly the same place:

http://example.com, and http://example.com/?utm_campaign=loudnoises

The above is an example of an URL that has a parameter appended to the end - in this case, it's a parameter commonly used by Google Analytics. If your visitors arrive at your page with parameters appended to the URL (for instance, if you were tracking visitors from an email campaign), some of the social networks treat the above as a separate page from, say, http://example.com, which leads to the total Flares count being different, depending on which version of the page you're viewing. 

Fear not, however - there is a solution!

In the Flare editor, simply check the "Use Canonical URL tag", and "Filter query tag parameters" checkboxes under the Advanced Options section. 


What do these do?

Use the canonical URL tag

This option tells Flare to share the original URL of this page, if it's been specified within the code of the page, instead of whatever's shown in your visitors' browser. 

Filter query parameters
This option tells Flare to simply ignore the parameters that come after your URL. You can also use the whitelist option below to ensure that certain parameters are recognized and included, when the page is being shared. For example, WordPress' default URL structure looks something like this: http://example.com/?p=123. The "?p=123" part is an ID number assigned to an individual post, so you need to whitelist "p" as a parameter, in order for the actual post's URL to be shared.

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